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Tuesday 10 December 2019

In brief: Nato-led troops kill more than 30 insurgents after Taliban attack

NATO-led troops killed more than 30 insurgents when their base was attacked in southern Afghanistan on Friday, with the Taliban claiming responsibility for the assault.

Five Nato troops were also wounded in attack when their outpost in Paktika province came under fire from rocket-propelled grenades, gunfire and mortars, the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement.

General Shawkat Zebari of the Iraqi army said the bodies of at least 15 insurgents were seen lying on the battlefield after the attack. Afghan troops were still collecting bodies at the site, ISAF said.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the Islamist group had attacked the base, claiming that six police outposts had been overrun in the attack.

Four die in Antarctic helicopter crash

All four passengers on a French helicopter that crashed in rough weather in Antarctica have been confirmed dead. Another helicopter from the Dumont-d'Urville scientific station in Antarctica flew to the site of the crashed aircraft yesterday and a doctor on board confirmed the deaths.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said the French are conducting recovery operations with assistance from Australia's rescue co-ordination centre and the staff at the US McMurdo base on Antarctica.

The helicopter crashed last Thursday evening. There were four French citizens in the craft -- a pilot, a mechanic and two employees of the French Polar Institute.

India backs off from Blackberry ban

India has followed the United Arab Emirates in backing off from a threat to ban popular services on Blackberry devices, amid growing global concern over access to encrypted information.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said that Research in Motion Ltd, the Canadian maker of the smart phones, has agreed to an interim arrangement for lawful interception of Blackberry messenger services -- an instant messaging application -- and pledged to provide a final solution by January.

Baghdad bomb death toll reaches 26

The death toll from a suicide bombing north of Baghdad has risen to 26, an Iraqi health official said yesterday. The director of the hospital in Balad Ruz, said five more people had died from injuries sustained in the blast.

The suicide bomber blew himself up inside a cafe on Friday, breaking a period of relative calm in Iraq.

The neighbourhood where the explosion occurred is home to many Kurdish Shia. The attack underscores the delicate nature of Iraq's security gains and comes as the country is approaching its eighth month without a new government following inconclusive elections.

50 killed in new malaria outbreak

health workers say an epidemic that may be malaria has killed over 50 people, decimating three villages of the Yanomami Indians, whose struggle for survival in a remote part of the Amazon rain forest in Venezuela has attracted worldwide support.

Pirates hijack tanker with 24 on board

Somali pirates have hijacked a tanker nearly 600 nautical miles off Somalia, the European Union anti-piracy taskforce said yesterday.

The taskforce, EU Navfor, said gunmen attacked the MV Polar, a 72,8250-tonne Panama-flagged tanker with 24 crew members, overnight in the Somali basin. The crew includes one Romanian, three Greeks, four Montenegrins and 16 Filipinos. The tanker's owner confirmed pirates were now in control of the vessel, EU Navfor said.

Somalia has lacked an effective central government for almost two decades and is awash with weapons.

The mayhem on land has allowed piracy to boom in the strategic waterways off its shores which link Europe to Asia and Africa

Hotel charged for noisy Perry wedding

Managers at the luxury Indian resort where Russell Brand and Katy Perry married are being charged with violating noise laws during last week's wedding.

The celebrity couple will not face any action, but the Aman-i-Khas hotel management are being held responsible for breaking rules against loud music after 10pm. The couple married on October 23 near Ranthambhore Wildlife Park in Rajasthan state, before flying to the Maldives for their honeymoon.

Officials said yesterday that the late-night wedding party noise exceeded the 45-decibel limit. A local criminal lawyer said the hotel management could face a fine or possibly a few days in jail.

Sunday Independent

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